Some of us, most of us have God-given gifts that enable us to learn more easily, run faster, be more patient, bake a great cookie (shout-out to my sister, Barbara, and her My Kids Cookies company), teach a child, build a house, play the piano, write a love song, heal someone’s body or heart. And hopefully we are all able to be cognizant enough – or be surrounded by others who are attuned enough to us – to recognize and cultivate and use our gifts wisely so that we end up in a profession or vocation that lets us use our gifts to satisfy not only our own sense of well-being but to share it with others who can hopefully benefit from it. Because if you don’t, you could end up spending your life as the square peg in a round hole, always wondering why you don’t feel fulfilled or satisfied in what you’re doing in your personal or professional life.
From a very early age, I loved to write and – God bless them – my parents always encouraged me to do so. From the earliest thing I can remember writing (a haiku at age 8 called Lawn), I felt such satisfaction and sense of accomplishment that I was lucky enough to be sort of a wordsmith, a person who felt comfortable trying to find just the right words whether it be for a birthday card for my great kid, or a letter to the love of my life, or an e-mail asking someone for answers I felt they owed me, or these musings that so many of you are kind enough to read. And I knew that’s what I always wanted to do.
And I did, although not in an ultimately fulfilling sense. I did write in my former career, I wrote a lot. I wrote insurance policies and vendor contracts. I drafted position papers and responses to industry questions. I penned speeches and press releases. I could rewrite something that someone else had written poorly and fix it so it made sense and sailed through the cumbersome review process that all legal documents were subject to. I was prolific at that job and probably even accomplished some good with some of the things I wrote. I was paid relatively well and I liked the business of the work and the camaraderie of my fellow workers. But satisfied? No.
I left that job after many years to take on new challenges and responsibilities. I wanted to spend more time with my great kid and my parents as their lives were changing. But even though I wasn’t employed I still felt that calling, the need to put electronic pen to paper and create something. The overwhelming desire to not let that writing muscle atrophy because of lack of use. And so I started this little blog which you’re reading, writing when inspiration – or, truth be told, sometimes desperation – manifested itself. The satisfaction of writing was freeing and exhilarating. I was confident in my skills and I could only hope that occasionally some of my random thoughts would resonate. It always pleases me to no end when someone will send me a text or post a comment here or even write me an e-mail saying they liked or were inspired by what I’d written. There was no better feeling than that.
And then after my darling Dad passed away and my son had graduated from high school and was headed off to college, I decided I needed to fill my now far-too-empty days with a new vocation. I was lucky, so lucky to have been selected by the owner and editor of a start-up financial site to write a daily column about women and finances. It was beyond exhilarating. The research, the processing of thoughts and ideas into words, the fine-tuning of the words to make them accessible to all, the sheer joy of seeing my name on a byline – it was something I could only have dreamed about. And I was even more fortunate when the editor liked my work enough to ask me not only to start writing about entertainers and finance but to cover the Presidential debates and election in 2012. Finally I was doing something I truly loved and maybe even having an impact on someone’s life.
But – like all good things – it came to an end when like most start-up companies the website ran out of funding and suspended operations “temporarily”. (It’s now going on 3 years of the temporary suspension of the site; I’m starting to lose hope.) I didn’t give up though because I knew my writing talent had gotten better the more I wrote, my research skills had been sharpened, my judgment on what would and wouldn’t resonate with people had improved. I eventually moved on to something else but writing is and always will be my passion and even if no one ever pays me again to do it, I will never stop because the process of writing, the essence of writing, the end result of writing all matter to me. It makes me proud to use the gift I have been given by God and which my parents and my son and my friends and colleagues have always encouraged me to use. It would be wrong not to.
We are often too quick to complain and too slow or too forgetful or too silly to remember to thank those who acknowledge and encourage, who lift us up and never bring us down, who hold our hands and dry our tears, who support us and believe in us when we don’t believe in ourselves. I am lucky to be given this opportunity to share my thanks for and with you. And so to quote the great Bee Gees (the author of my Dad’s favorite misheard song, Baldheaded Woman), it’s only words and words are all I have to take your heart away. I hope I do that on occasion for you. My gratitude is with you always.